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Zhaoxu Liu / slandarer

How to set the AlphaData of a colorbar?

Zhaoxu Liu / slandarer on 9 Jun 2024
Latest activity Edit by DGM on 9 Jun 2024

Many times when ploting, we not only need to set the color of the plot, but also its
transparency, Then how we set the alphaData of colorbar at the same time ?
It seems easy to do so :
data = rand(12,12);
% Transparency range 0-1, .3-1 for better appearance here
AData = rescale(- data, .3, 1);
% Draw an imagesc with numerical control over colormap and transparency
imagesc(data, 'AlphaData',AData);
colormap(jet);
ax = gca;
ax.DataAspectRatio = [1,1,1];
ax.TickDir = 'out';
ax.Box = 'off';
% get colorbar object
CBarHdl = colorbar;
pause(1e-16)
% Modify the transparency of the colorbar
CData = CBarHdl.Face.Texture.CData;
ALim = [min(min(AData)), max(max(AData))];
CData(4,:) = uint8(255.*rescale(1:size(CData, 2), ALim(1), ALim(2)));
CBarHdl.Face.Texture.ColorType = 'TrueColorAlpha';
CBarHdl.Face.Texture.CData = CData;
But !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We cannot preserve the changes when saving them as images :
It seems that when saving plots, the `Texture` will be refresh, but the `Face` will not :
however, object Face only have 4 colors to change(The four corners of a quadrilateral), how
can we set more colors ??
`Face` is a quadrilateral object, and we can change the `VertexData` to draw more than one little quadrilaterals:
data = rand(12,12);
% Transparency range 0-1, .3-1 for better appearance here
AData = rescale(- data, .3, 1);
%Draw an imagesc with numerical control over colormap and transparency
imagesc(data, 'AlphaData',AData);
colormap(jet);
ax = gca;
ax.DataAspectRatio = [1,1,1];
ax.TickDir = 'out';
ax.Box = 'off';
% get colorbar object
CBarHdl = colorbar;
pause(1e-16)
% Modify the transparency of the colorbar
CData = CBarHdl.Face.Texture.CData;
ALim = [min(min(AData)), max(max(AData))];
CData(4,:) = uint8(255.*rescale(1:size(CData, 2), ALim(1), ALim(2)));
warning off
CBarHdl.Face.ColorType = 'TrueColorAlpha';
VertexData = CBarHdl.Face.VertexData;
tY = repmat((1:size(CData,2))./size(CData,2), [4,1]);
tY1 = tY(:).'; tY2 = tY - tY(1,1); tY2(3:4,:) = 0; tY2 = tY2(:).';
tM1 = [tY1.*0 + 1; tY1; tY1.*0 + 1];
tM2 = [tY1.*0; tY2; tY1.*0];
CBarHdl.Face.VertexData = repmat(VertexData, [1,size(CData,2)]).*tM1 + tM2;
CBarHdl.Face.ColorData = reshape(repmat(CData, [4,1]), 4, []);
The higher the value, the more transparent it becomes
data = rand(12,12);
AData = rescale(- data, .3, 1);
imagesc(data, 'AlphaData',AData);
colormap(jet);
ax = gca;
ax.DataAspectRatio = [1,1,1];
ax.TickDir = 'out';
ax.Box = 'off';
CBarHdl = colorbar;
pause(1e-16)
CData = CBarHdl.Face.Texture.CData;
ALim = [min(min(AData)), max(max(AData))];
CData(4,:) = uint8(255.*rescale(size(CData, 2):-1:1, ALim(1), ALim(2)));
warning off
CBarHdl.Face.ColorType = 'TrueColorAlpha';
VertexData = CBarHdl.Face.VertexData;
tY = repmat((1:size(CData,2))./size(CData,2), [4,1]);
tY1 = tY(:).'; tY2 = tY - tY(1,1); tY2(3:4,:) = 0; tY2 = tY2(:).';
tM1 = [tY1.*0 + 1; tY1; tY1.*0 + 1];
tM2 = [tY1.*0; tY2; tY1.*0];
CBarHdl.Face.VertexData = repmat(VertexData, [1,size(CData,2)]).*tM1 + tM2;
CBarHdl.Face.ColorData = reshape(repmat(CData, [4,1]), 4, []);
More transparent in the middle
data = rand(12,12) - .5;
AData = rescale(abs(data), .1, .9);
imagesc(data, 'AlphaData',AData);
colormap(jet);
ax = gca;
ax.DataAspectRatio = [1,1,1];
ax.TickDir = 'out';
ax.Box = 'off';
CBarHdl = colorbar;
pause(1e-16)
CData = CBarHdl.Face.Texture.CData;
ALim = [min(min(AData)), max(max(AData))];
CData(4,:) = uint8(255.*rescale(abs((1:size(CData, 2)) - (1 + size(CData, 2))/2), ALim(1), ALim(2)));
warning off
CBarHdl.Face.ColorType = 'TrueColorAlpha';
VertexData = CBarHdl.Face.VertexData;
tY = repmat((1:size(CData,2))./size(CData,2), [4,1]);
tY1 = tY(:).'; tY2 = tY - tY(1,1); tY2(3:4,:) = 0; tY2 = tY2(:).';
tM1 = [tY1.*0 + 1; tY1; tY1.*0 + 1];
tM2 = [tY1.*0; tY2; tY1.*0];
CBarHdl.Face.VertexData = repmat(VertexData, [1,size(CData,2)]).*tM1 + tM2;
CBarHdl.Face.ColorData = reshape(repmat(CData, [4,1]), 4, []);
The code will work if the plot have AlphaData property
data = peaks(30);
AData = rescale(data, .2, 1);
surface(data, 'FaceAlpha','flat','AlphaData',AData);
colormap(jet(100));
ax = gca;
ax.DataAspectRatio = [1,1,1];
ax.TickDir = 'out';
ax.Box = 'off';
view(3)
CBarHdl = colorbar;
pause(1e-16)
CData = CBarHdl.Face.Texture.CData;
ALim = [min(min(AData)), max(max(AData))];
CData(4,:) = uint8(255.*rescale(1:size(CData, 2), ALim(1), ALim(2)));
warning off
CBarHdl.Face.ColorType = 'TrueColorAlpha';
VertexData = CBarHdl.Face.VertexData;
tY = repmat((1:size(CData,2))./size(CData,2), [4,1]);
tY1 = tY(:).'; tY2 = tY - tY(1,1); tY2(3:4,:) = 0; tY2 = tY2(:).';
tM1 = [tY1.*0 + 1; tY1; tY1.*0 + 1];
tM2 = [tY1.*0; tY2; tY1.*0];
CBarHdl.Face.VertexData = repmat(VertexData, [1,size(CData,2)]).*tM1 + tM2;
CBarHdl.Face.ColorData = reshape(repmat(CData, [4,1]), 4, []);
DGM
DGM on 9 Jun 2024 (Edited on 9 Jun 2024)
I still argue that there's often no point. A transparent colormapped object (e.g. 2D image or pcolor object) which occludes nothing but the background does not need transparency. It is equivalent to merely making a new colormap. That can be accomplished in a couple lines without the need for object-dependent manipulation strategies.
Adopting transparency in colormapped objects can come with the sacrifice of clarity. It's not always something that can be completely resolved in a visually accurate way.
If the transparent object occludes itself or another colormapped object, then the apparent colors cannot be represented with a simple 1D colorbar, even if the colorbar had alpha. The same holds true if the AlphaData is nonscalar and is independent of CData. If the occluded surface is itself transparent, then it can't even be represented with a 2D colorbar.
Similarly, if the axes background isn't the same as what the colorbar object is being composited against, then manipulating the colorbar alpha won't help.
Can we accept that a graph is a compromise made for sake of roughly visualizing general concepts about the data? If so, then maybe there's little reason to object. If instead we want something that can be accurately read visually, we should probably start trying to reduce the visual complexity and avoid dependence on being able to discern subtle aspects of color.